Reviewed by Chlo Hickson
What do the Doctor Who episodes ‘World Enough And Time’ and ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ have in common? They are both peak horror episodes with titles that don’t relate to the episodes whatsoever and I love them both. ‘The Star Beast’ was good, but this is great, I’d actually say this was peak Doctor Who for me. I’m not normally into surprises but I’m glad we didn’t know anything about this episode, it’s really creepy. I was completely blown away. It’s fun, bizarre, creepy, and experimental. It’s a slow burn claustrophobic mystery, classic Who style. I’d say it’s a blend between ‘Midnight’ and ‘Heaven Sent’, it brought back actual feelings of tension and horror.
The mavity of this episode was insane!
This could’ve worked as a regular episode but it’s a great idea for an anniversary special, this is Doctor Who at its core. Running around corridors from frightening monsters with some amazing character work. If we’re being honest the never-ending corridor is peak Doctor Who.
I watched Who Culture’s review shortly after the episode, and they gave it a down for the tone changes throughout the episode. Personally, I think this worked in the episode’s favour. The tone changes made the whole thing deeply unsettling and added to the building tension.
It’s so great to see a writer give his characters a lot of things to do. I feel like Jodie Whittaker never had a chance to show off, and this is such a show off episode. Russell T Davies (RTD) just knows how to give his actors the best stuff to work with, and this was really it.
I love these kinds of concept stories. A truly alien monster that doesn’t allow understanding or reasoning. It gives us some experimental stuff with disturbing conclusions or interesting dynamics in a narrative arc, or new emotional depths. Its always interesting and unexpected! I hope we get some more in the future.
This is my favourite episode in years and to people who are saying there isn’t enough fan service… We have David Tennant and Catherine Tate back for literally every second, it really makes the most out of their return. What more could you want? I understand if people want multi-Doctor but getting so much character stuff from these two feels extraordinary indulgent and everything that I need from an episode right now.
I also love how slow the episode is and that it actually has a reason for being quite a slow story. Watching the plot unravel was just as amazing on a re-watch too. The scene towards the end where the Not-thing Doctor works it out at the same time as the Doctor was brilliant, the Doctor’s biggest flaw has always been his brain and I love that Russell used this trait against him as his desire to work out the mystery nearly backfired.
It really highlighted Tennant and Tate’s very strong chemistry and I truly enjoyed this.
It’s a great character piece for the Doctor and Donna, with so many strong moments between them both, especially when the Doctor opens up about the Flux and the intense ending of that series of adventures.
The scene involving the Flux proved what I’ve been saying about 13’s lack of emotion in her characterisation. It was nice to see the Doctor showing proper remorse. Like I said, I feel like 13 was devoid of pretty much all emotion but upbeat feelings or maybe a little bit of anger. It also gives us an introverted veil because in all those moments where it seemed like she didn’t care as much as she should, now we know she was faking it and inside she was exploding with rage and pain, I can only say wow at this.
It’s moments like this I love, and I like that immediately after, we saw him attacking the wall. Seeing the ‘anger of a Time Lord’ again is nice after years of it being absent. Seeing the raw vulnerability only to have it thrown back at him is a special kind of cruelty. Tennant plays those kinds of moments really well throughout his career.
It really got me because I think its rare that the Doctor and companion are the same level of shell-shocked after an ordeal and I think the Doctor kissing Donna’s head was as much for him as it was for her. He was finally getting the reassurance he needed after the conversation with the Not-thing Donna. It’s just a brilliant scene. Just sitting on the floor for who knows how long. Resting, letting it calm down, knowing they are safe. Not just carrying on and getting back to work. The Doctor has finally learnt that it needs to be done.
If the Timeless Child concept had to remain in the show, I’m glad it’s actually having consequences. I think it was actually addressed in the perfect way – the core of an effective moment, but not giving us a huge lore dump. That scene alone proves that RTD can handle this concept very well, and finally we get confirmation that the Flux did destroy a huge chunk of the universe and the Doctor had to have a head in the sand attitude to cope. It all works a lot better now.
I think it was a good move to have the Doctor separated from his usual devices – his sonic, his TARDIS, even his ability to influence – it was like stripping a superhero of their powers and was seeing what was left. Character is what you are on your darkest day. If anything, watching the Doctor be more practical and hands on was a lot more interesting and engaging.
Catherine Tate really spat in the face of those who, in the past, thought she could only do comedy. I’m not a fan of the cop-out death trope but well done to Tate for selling that scene! I genuinely thought they’d killed her off, I was terrified.
She played being beyond the point of terrified very well, the fact that the Doctor could have left without her just broke me. Its very dark.
The fact that Donna has that talk earlier on with the not-thing Doctor about what her family would do if she never returned, she would’ve died, and the not-thing Donna would’ve returned to Earth and killed everyone. It came that close to winning!
I also really like it that the Not-thing’s response to the Doctor’s question was more believable.
The Not-things are like an evolved version of the ‘Midnight’ entity, they definitely share similarities. They also gave me Boneless vibes (from ‘Flatline’) with their analysing and copying people. If anything, this just adds to how scary the Whoniverse is.
I can understand why they kept it as secret as they did now, having Tennant and Tate being on double duty like this is something I wouldn’t have wanted spoiled. It was also better than any fan theory I saw. RTD really did something special, and I love the impact it had on the characters, as well as the seeds it planted.
Tennant and Tate were great as villains.
‘My arms are too long’ is genuinely disturbing, Tennant’s vacant expression as he says it is super creepy, eerie, and very well done in general. He was creepy when the Not-thing Doctor was still figuring out his existence, he was equally creepy when he started to perfect the Doctor’s mannerisms.
The short conversation the 2 Doctors have while the salt counting is going on is so chilling yet it’s hard to say why. The duplicate is 90% the Doctor at this point but there’s a tiny bit of him missing that makes it hauntingly strange. The way he says ‘We drifted here in the lack of light’ is a good example of him being so subtly different that it makes you uneasy. A little change of tone is enough.
That scene between the Doctor and the Not-thing Donna was honestly heartbreaking. He’s trying to be more open and talk about his feelings and then that sweet moment was ripped away from us. The face he makes when he recoils is devastating. The line ‘All those years … I missed you’ is so much worse when you think about how long it’s been since he’s seen her. It’s 15 years for her and billions for him.
Well done to RTD for traumatising a whole new generation of children with the Not-things.
I felt like a kid again watching this episode, the fear of watching a scary episode of Doctor Who is something I never thought I’d experience in my adulthood ever. ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ is RTD at his best when it comes to Doctor Who.
Don’t mean to sound bad to the young fans but we need more of this! Doctor Who is at its best when it leans into horror.
I love the body horror in this story, and the subtle references to some classic horrors. The use of practical effects was effective and brilliant.
I haven’t been this unnerved from an episode in years. The Not-things brought back the unexplainable Doctor Who monsters, and it was new and refreshing.
This episode is the first time I’ve had goosebumps at an episode in a while. It was great to be wowed by the show again.
I loved the chase scene at the end, I haven’t had that kind of engagement in an episode for years. Donna fighting herself and the Doctor running for his life was just brilliant.
The only thing I maybe would’ve had them do is turn into the other Doctors, they didn’t have to be in the Doctor’s shoes, but I think it would’ve been good if they either did that or turned into a past companion to torture the Doctor.
Special mention also goes to the Captain’s character, she is brilliant. It was cool to have her save the day without us really meeting her. Setting up a slow process and then committing suicide so that she wouldn’t have any thoughts, dying to stop the creatures from learning what was set up and keeping them trapped unable to control the ship.
Last week it was Ruth Madley, now its the casting for Issac Newton, who was in the episode for 30 seconds if that, which is getting people riled on line. Get over yourselves please. If anything, the people complaining about him finding another man attractive should be consistent and also be critical of the Doctor flirting with woman. If it wasn’t to do with the Doctor fancying Newton, then they were complaining about the actor’s skin colour who was representing him.
Fans want everything to be “realistic” but it’s a fictional Sci-fi show. People will be offended be literally anything these days and it’s a shame because they are so focused on that rather than enjoying the show they supposedly love.
Do you know what I took away from that intro? The fact that the show dedicated its cold open just to set up a joke, you just know the show’s back to how it was when my generation grew up with it in the 2000s. Welcome back Russell T Davies you have been missed.
Another thing people seem to be complaining about is the CGI. In my opinion shoddy CGI is part of Doctor Who‘s charm. If you’re expecting it to be perfect, then you’re watching the wrong show. Also, the CGI works in favour of the monsters this time. It makes them look completely outside of human reference or structural understanding, unreal and unknowable.
Captivating from start to finish! This is probably the best episode since ‘Heaven Sent’. I have no faults with it. I loved every second. My emotions were all over the place! This episode saw Tennant and Tate at their absolute best, stand out performances from them both. The music/lack of music is stunning in capturing the atmosphere and making you feel like you’re in the episode. This is the kind of episode that shows that Doctor Who doesn’t need something major to happen to the canon, multi-Doctor stories or recurring villains to be awesome. I also loved the idea of a plan so slow that you can’t see the pattern to figure it out. It’s so simple, but it makes sense and I love it.
Loved seeing a familiar face at the end, I saw Wilf and honestly nearly burst into tears. I thought he was going to appear in ‘The Giggle’ so was completely unprepared for that ending. As endings go, whilst bittersweet, you couldn’t wish for a more heartwarming, upbeat scene. It’s perfect. What an actor and what a character this man has been. Bernard Cribbins brought so much joy to everyone and will never be forgotten. Wilf is the fandoms grandad; we all love him. Goodbye ‘me old soldier!’
I love ‘The Star Beast’, but ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ was definitely the ‘we’re back’ episode for me. I do love watching an episode and just enjoying it.